Takes its viewers on a bouncing high-wire act between intense violence and sugar-sweet tenderness, with some light-hearted comedy along the way.
Stream Léon: The Professional
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What are critics saying?
Oldman is the least inhibited actor of his generation, and as this deranged detective, he keeps absolutely nothing in reserve.
With some surprisingly strong character interaction, there's a lot to like about this movie, at least for those willing to look beyond all the bloodshed.
Lacks the sexy elan of "La Femme Nikita" and suffers from infinitely worse culture shock. [18 Nov 1994, p.C18]
The sheer oddness of the New York world constructed for this film--where cops and crooks are literally interchangeable, and Oldman and Danny Aiello are stranded in roles that pick over the leavings of earlier parts--ultimately seems at once too deranged and too mechanical.
Ah, monsieur, you can lead a Frenchman to the Big Apple, but you can't make him a New Yorker -- and that's exactly what makes The Professional so fascinating.
Besson's visuals are, as always, vibrant and decidedly European. He fills the frames with odd-angled shots and alarming riots of color that catch you off-balance.
This is a Cuisinart of a movie, mixing familiar yet disparate ingredients, making something odd, possibly distasteful, undeniably arresting out of them. [5 Dec 1994, p. 93]
Besson has a natural gift for plunging into drama with a charged-up visual style.